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Old 08-08-2022, 09:46 PM
PaulvS's Avatar
PaulvS PaulvS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 1,192
Default Fiberglass emp fairing plan of attack

The fibreglass intersection fairing F-694B for the empennage on my -6A project does not appear to fit at all well, at least initially, and the gelcoat is rough. There are old posts on this problematic part and what other builders previously did but unfortunately many of the pictures have become lost.

I'm wondering what is the best plan of attack and whether to buy a new and hopefully better F-694B-1 fairing from Vans, or try to fix the existing part, or to make a new part from scratch?

I haven't done any fiberglass work for a while (built a sailing dinghy in my teens) and assume that fixing the current part would mean removing the gel coat and then cutting it up some and making various lap joint extensions around the edges before smoothing with micro. This could well be as much work as making a new part, I guess.

I would like it to end up looking like the fairing in this thread:

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Paul vS (yes I'm also a Van)
Building RV-6A #22320 O-320 FP. Wings and tail complete, fuselage almost done, working on canopy.
Flying my Aeroprakt A-22 STOL and the aero club's RV-9A while I build

Last edited by PaulvS : 08-08-2022 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 08-09-2022, 05:49 AM
Joeyo68 Joeyo68 is offline
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Frankston, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 150

Hi Paul,
Before cutting it up, I would tape it down as best as you could and use a heat gun to get the fibreglass to “relax” and take up the new shape. I did this with a few 7 parts, including the empennage fairing. Any gaps I had along the edges, I taped the aluminium surfaces, clecod the fairing on and filled with flox, then sanded in a new edge until I was happy.
End result was not as good as Dan’s masterpieces, but good enough for me.
Good luck with it.
Flying friends RV7ís
Built RV7 empennage.
Wings done
Fuselage mostly done.
Working FWF now.
4th July 2022, Phase 1 CofA issued!
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:18 AM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
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Default Or

Or you can apply clear packing tape to the empennage where the fairing fits, then apply epoxy/flox/cabo to the fairing flanges, and install the fairing. When the epoxy had cured, remove the fairing and sand edges to shape. A perfect fit will be the resultÖ
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Old 08-09-2022, 07:37 AM
PhatRV PhatRV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Buena Park, California
Posts: 859

This is what I did to fit the empenage fiberglass fairing.

For the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer, I laid down a few layers of fiberglass to fill the gap. I bonded the extra layer to the existing fairing and trim to fit.

In some sections between the screws, you see some billowing because of the compound curve as the fairing wraps around the vertical and horizontal surfaces. In this case, use a hack saw or something with a similar kerf thickness, make slit cut into the fiberglass. This should remove the billowing effect as the material fills into the empty space of the kerf. Then cover the kerf from the bottom with fiberglass and smooth the outer surface with micro.
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RV8 (N38PV): 90% completed (90% to go)
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Old 08-09-2022, 01:58 PM
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Bob Martin Bob Martin is offline
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Do what Dan will be happy.

I did it........let the front hook under the leading edge of the HS.
Only screws holding it on are 4 screws in the rear, 2 each side.
Very clean looking.
Lots of work......very messy either way...good luck.
Bob Martin
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Old 08-09-2022, 04:24 PM
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BillL BillL is offline
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Location: Central IL
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Paul, that part is made with the mold on the outer surface, but it is the inner surface that controls the fit. Mine fit badly too (circa 2003 part) and before making mods, I sanded all the inner contact areas so there were no ripples, runs, extra thickness etc as it is a layup. That solved 90% of the issues, and then split some places to shrink it with a trough and lap patch on the outside. I taped the area and used some micro to fill some gaps and sanded exterior (gel coat) to restore thickness.

You might talk to Vans, it seems the later parts with gray gelcoat seemed to fit pretty well. I can't address availability and current sourcing.

I did use heat to get some other parts to fit better, but not this one. Heat rarely worked for me. YMMV
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Old 08-09-2022, 05:50 PM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
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I would be very tempted to just order one from Fairings-Etc.
Mike W
Venice, FL

N164WM RV-6A Slider/O-360/FP Sold 4/2022
N184WM (RV-8) In final assembly at the airport. Titan IOX-370
N184P reserved (RV-8QB) Empennage kit and QB wings in the shop
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Old 08-09-2022, 05:58 PM
PhatRV PhatRV is offline
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Location: Buena Park, California
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I think you want to trial test it using clecos as I have done first before declaring it unworkable. You can always trim the excess and fill in the void with fiberglass parts that are non-structural. It is not one and done like metal. It took a few weeks for this part to fit on my RV8 but I wasn't as concerned working with fiberglass as some. Give it a try. You will be surprise how well it will come out in the end.
RV8 (N38PV): 90% completed (90% to go)
Short List for Hangar !
Days to Final Installation: 999
Days to AWC: 999
Days to First Flight: 999
Painting: 85% completed
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:07 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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I got my tail fairing, and other fairings, from Fairings Etc. Fit is good with just a little work to make it lay down tight with only a few screws. Iíve used their fairings on all of my RV builds.
RV6/2001 built 2000/sold 2005
RV8 Fastback/2008 built/sold 2015
RV4/bought 2016/sold/2017
RV8/2018 built/Sold(sadly)
RV4/bought 2019/sold2021
RV6/August 2022 build - Phase 1
Cincinnati, OH/KHAO
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Old 08-10-2022, 06:50 AM
downundarv8builder downundarv8builder is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 15

I have an RV8 with a Showplanes Fastback and the Van's fairing didn't work at all with the modified rear deck. I ended up destroying it trying to cut it to fit so I hit the internet and came across this wonderful video from Stu's Aircraft Factory of a carbon fibre empennage fairing from scratch. Here it is I watched it a few times and emboldened by how easy Stu made it look I got some carbon fibre and proceeded to lay it up. I ended up throwing the first one away but I learned a great deal and the second was very satisfactory. Very stiff, held on by two screws. As mentioned in a previous post, it's really important to get the underlying shape correct. Correct in the sense that it's the shape you want. I used pouring foam as it has more consistency. I used the same technique for my upper intersection fairings. I was very happy with the result overall but it was a lot of work. The second one was much better with half the time.
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